Sunday, February 14, 2016

One day I wrote her name upon the strand /
Edmund Spenser

from Amoretti


One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washèd it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide and made my pains his prey.
Vain man (said she) that dost in vain assay
A mortal thing so to immortalise;
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eke my name be wipèd out likewise.
Not so (quod I); let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame;
My verse your virtues rare shall eternise,
And in the heavens write your glorious name:
  Where, when as Death shall all the world subdue,
  Our love shall live, and later life renew.

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)
from Amoretti and Epithalamion, 1595

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Edmund Spenser biography

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